What happens when you tackle the vast textures of György Ligeti’s masterwork Atmospheres with a couple of strings, percussion, electric guitar and turntables? In this unique collaboration, Sydney’s virtuoso champions of innovative classical music, Ensemble Offspring, are joined by internationally famed underground electronica duo Oren Ambarchi and Martin Ng. Using the music of Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) as inspiration, the artists fuse the acoustic and electric worlds in a series of striking aural tapestries interspersed with reinventions of Ligeti’s second Piano Etude, his solo Harpsichord tour-de-force, Continuum and ending with After Atmospheres – a work that echoes the famous orchestral score featured in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Having just come out of the recording studio, the fresh collaborative process has been based around what the musicians have termed a phenomenological approach to music, where sounds have been permitted to evolve organically into expansive textures. Through the course of the performance, the musicians respond to a variety of stimuli from amplified pre-recorded tracks which they blend with live, pure improvisation and an invisible dialogue with audio heard only via headphones.
Led by Artistic Directors Claire Edwardes (percussion) and Damien Ricketson (composer), Ensemble Offspring is Sydney’s own innovative new music group. With a reputation for uniquely adventurous and engaging collaborations the team of virtuoso performers host broad ranging talents honed in orchestral, pop, free improvisation and much more, all coming together in the name of exploring new ways of music making.
Oren Ambarchi is an internationally acclaimed, Melbourne-based composer and multi-instrumentalist with longstanding interests in transcending conventional instrumental approaches. Ambarchi is co-founder and co-organiser of the What Is Music? Festival, Australia’s premier showcase of local and international experimental music.
Sydneysider, Martin Ng is a heart surgeon and electronic musician with an obsession for sound recombination and in developing molecular approaches to music creation. Uncompromisingly adventurous, Ng’s releases span tour-de-force cybernetic turntablist excursions to glacial harmonic compositions.
Ambarchi/Ng Offspring – Simulacra (World premiere)
György Ligeti – Continuum (marimba duo version)
Ambarchi/Ng/Offspring – Woods (World premiere)
György Ligeti (arr. van Reyk) – Piano Etude #2 Cordes Vides Sydney concert / Rushford/Ng/Ambarchi – Recife Melbourne concert (World premiere)
Ambarchi/Ng – The Vanishing (World premiere)
György Ligeti – Beyond Atmospheres (World premiere)
Veronique Serret & Anna McMichael (violin)
Claire Edwardes & Bree van Reyk (percussion)
Martin Ng (turntables)
Oren Ambarchi (guitar/electronics)
Melbourne Melbourne Recital Centre, The Salon, 6pm Monday 25th February
Sydney SYDNEY FESTIVAL Carriageworks, Track 8, 5pm Friday 11th January, 10pm Saturday 12th January, 11.30am Sunday 13th January
Media & Acclaim
Classical Concert of the Month February 2013
“Particularly in Continuum (a harpsichord piece performed here on two marimbas) and After Atmospheres (Ligeti’s landmark orchestral work rewritten for two violins and percussionist), lack of devotion to the score’s letter did little to hurt the spirit. For music so conscious of texture and timbre, such liberties could be tantamount to heresy, but rarely has music been reconceived so reverently. Artistic Director (and percussionist) Claire Edwardes devoted so much attention to the music’s pulse that the performance never lacked heart.”
“While the quartet’s six-part program showed these Sydney musicians to be confident in their fusion of improvisation, notation and electronics, the outstanding feature of this event was its consistent thread of interest.”
“Beyond Atmospheres, brought re-composers and players together in an engrossing construct that made a valid commentary on the original piece.”
“The ensemble players clearly relished their work…like this event itself, both consistent and chameleonic.”
Click here to go to the Sydney Morning Herald article “The Music of a Master Remodelled” by Bernard Zuel